MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
And she joins us now from London. Welcome to the program.
LAURA MURPHY: Thank you, Michele.
NORRIS: This is a vacation you're never going to forget.
MURPHY: Never, ever, ever.
NORRIS: When you were traveling to Egypt, did you have any inklings that this was about to kickoff on January 25th?
MURPHY: So I knew that Egypt was in a pressure cooker. But I had no idea that on the very day we arrived that the protests would break out, and they would just carry on the entire time we were in Egypt.
NORRIS: At what point did you become afraid for your safety?
MURPHY: And I think because we were largely an African-American group, they gave us the peace sign. And then they told the bus driver to move, to move, and they insisted that we get let into the opera house parking lot. And the parking attendant wouldn't lift up the gate so they started screaming at the parking attendant.
NORRIS: Do not leave your room. They locked the elevators.
NORRIS: Finally, Laura Murphy and her sister secured tickets for a flight out of Luxor.
MURPHY: Our flight was supposed to leave at nine in the morning. We didn't leave until 4:30. And until we were on the plane, we were not sure we were taking off. And then when we got...
NORRIS: Were you on a commercial flight at that point?
MURPHY: You know, when we got on the plane, a British citizen who was there for a six- week vacation, cut his vacation short by five weeks. And he was desperate to get on this trip. And when he had got on the plane and he sat down, he had a heart attack and he died. And so we had to delay the flight.
NORRIS: Laura, this was on the flight that you were on?
MURPHY: This was on the flight that I was on. We had to wait for him to be carted off the plane. I didn't see him carted off the plane. I didn't see him die. But the passengers on the airline were abuzz.
NORRIS: Laura, you deal with civil liberties issues every day. Will your experience there in some way inform your work here? Has it changed your thinking, widened your perspective in some way?
MURPHY: Absolutely. I will bring back a special level of passion to our Internet rights, our free speech rights, our rights to assembly; because I could see so clearly how the control of this by the government could turn so easily into a tool of oppression.
NORRIS: Laura Murphy, thank you so much for talking to us. Get back to the States safely.
MURPHY: Thank you, Michele.
NORRIS: That's Laura Murphy. She's the director of the Washington Legislative Office of the ACLU. She spoke to us from London.
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